The Early Stages of Hardy’s Fiction

  • Simon Gatrell
Part of the Macmillan Literary Annuals book series (MLA)


A novelist of my acquaintance, talking about biographies of Hardy, said that what he really wanted to know about the man was how he went about writing. All writers, he said, in a generalisation that suited his argument, are more or less unpleasant in their personal lives, knowledge of which unpleasantness doesn’t help much in coming to terms with their work. What does, he continued, is their approach to writing; what sort of notes they make, how many drafts, whether they work in fits and starts or for fixed periods each day, whether they use pencil or pen, whether they use handmade paper or scraps of advertisements and old envelopes. Trollope, he said, is revealed most clearly as a writer in his Autobiography when he describes his working methods. All the major preoccupations of his fiction might be inferred from that description. Or there is the story of the printer’s lad waiting desperately in Thackeray’s hall for the next instalment of Vanity Fair — again how well that captures the improvisatory brilliance of the man.


Draft Manuscript Monthly Magazine York Public Library Authentic Ring French Diligence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    See also S. Gatrell, ‘Hardy the Creator: Far from the Madding Crowd’, in Critical Approaches to the Fiction of Thomas Hardy, ed. Dale Kramer (London: Macmillan, 1979 ) pp. 74–99;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. S. Gatrell, ‘Hardy’s Changing View of Under the Greenwood Tree’,.Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset, xxx(1978) PP. 315–24;Google Scholar
  3. P. Ingham, ‘The Evolution of Jude the Obscure’, Review of English Studies, n.s. XXVII (1976) pp. 27–37, 159–69;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. D. Kramer, ‘Revisions and Vision: Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders’, Bulletin of the New York Public Library, LXXV (1971) pp. 195–230;Google Scholar
  5. D. Kramer (ed.), The Woodlanders ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981 );Google Scholar
  6. J. Paterson, ‘The Genesis of Jude the Obscure’, Studies in Philology, LVII (1960) pp. 87–98;Google Scholar
  7. J. Paterson, The Making of ‘The Return of the Native’ ( Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1960 );Google Scholar
  8. R. C. Schweik, ‘The Early Development of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, LX (1967) pp. 415–28;Google Scholar
  9. R. Slack, ‘The Text of Hardy’s Jude the Obscure’, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, II (1957) pp. 261–75;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. C. Winfield, ‘The manuscript of Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge’, Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America, LXVII (1973) pp. 33–58.Google Scholar
  11. 3.
    L. Björk (ed.), The Literary Notes of Thomas Hardy, vol. I ( Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg, 1974 );Google Scholar
  12. R. Taylor (ed.), The Personal Notebooks of Thomas Hardy ( London: Macmillan, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  13. 4.
    Björk, op. cit., pp. xii–xxviii; M. Millgate, Thomas Hardy: His Career as a Novelist ( London: Bodley Head, 1971 ) pp. 237–42.Google Scholar
  14. 9.
    Cf. S. Gatrell, ‘Travelling Man’, in The Poetry of Thomas Hardy, ed. P. Clements and J. Grindle ( London: Vision Press, 1980 ) pp. 155–71.Google Scholar
  15. 19.
    The most substantial study is R. C. Schweik, ‘A First Draft Chapter of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd’, English Studies, LIII(1972) pp. 344–9. See also Winfield, op. cit., pp. 36–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Norman Page 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Gatrell

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations